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Turkish military slams 'slanderous' reports on Afrin operation

TURKISH MILITARY SLAMS SLANDEROUS REPORTS ON AFRIN OPERATION

The Turkish General Staff on Tuesday strongly criticized news reports that "aim to question the legitimacy" of Turkey's ongoing Operation Olive Branch in Syria.

In a statement, the military said: "The Turkish Air Force does not use napalm, chemical, biological or similar ammunition banned by international law and agreements."

It called out publications for tarnishing the operation in Afrin.

"Some publications and activities have been observed that intentionally aim to question the legitimacy of the operation and spread disinformation.

"It is clear that such actions, which are based on lies and slander, are being taken and instructed by terrorist organizations and their followers," the statement said.

The military also underlined that "religious and cultural buildings, historical sites, archeological ruins and public facilities are absolutely not among the targets of Turkish Armed Forces".

On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch along with Free Syrian Army (FSA) to clear PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin, northwestern Syria.

As the operation entered its 11th day, the Turkish General Staff announced that at least 649 PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists had been "neutralized" since the operation began.

According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey's borders and the region as well as to protect Syrians from oppression and cruelty of terrorists.

The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey's rights based on international law, UN Security Council resolutions, its self-defense rights under the UN charter, and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, it said.

The military has also said that only terrorist targets are being destroyed and that "utmost care" is taken to not harm any civilians.

Afrin has been a major hideout for the PYD/PKK since July 2012, when the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria left the city to the terror group without putting up a fight.

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